Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Malcolm Freberg. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
“Survivor: Blood vs. Water” has been an exercise in extremes.
They’re playing a cutthroat game against the people they love the most. The stronger, younger tribe has yet to win a challenge against the weaker, older tribe. The huge advantage a Redemption Island winner gave to her husband caused him to be booted from his tribe.
And now one week after interviewing one of the most beloved players the show has ever known, I find myself interviewing one of its most hated.
I spoke with Colton Cumbie the morning after he quit the game and had a chance to ask him about the decision he made, the berating he received from Jeff Probst, and his place in “Survivor” history…
Gordon Holmes: So…what happened?
Colton Cumbie: Well…I guess…I quit. (Laughs) What do you want to know?
Holmes: Let’s start with what made you come to this decision.
Cumbie: When they separated us, I was like, “I don’t want to be here anymore.” That was the starting point for me. I thought, I’ll tough it out, I’ll get to a swap or something. But then I kept thinking, when are they going to swap us? What ended up being the ultimate reason is I was trying to salvage Caleb’s game. That’s why I kept saying, “I don’t know, I don’t know.” That’s why Jeff was irate with me. I wouldn’t answer his questions because I couldn’t tell him what I was thinking. What I was really thinking was; I know I’m going to get voted out. I know I’m going to walk into the arena, and have you met my fiancé? He’s like the ultimate hero.
Holmes: He is.
Cumbie: He’s going to come down, he’s going to take my place. There won’t be any discussion. He’ll convince me to go to his tribe. And these challenges are not his forte. He’s not going to win these duels. And then he’d have sacrificed his game for me. I didn’t want that. Caleb came to play for Caleb, not for me. I honestly think me leaving is going to be a kickstart for him. He realizes he doesn’t have to worry about me anymore.
Holmes: That’s the crazy things about this season is these twists are bringing up angles I’d never thought of before. You quit because you knew you’d be voted out and Caleb would put himself at risk.
Cumbie: I knew that beyond a shadow of a doubt and he’ll verify that. Whenever we saw each other again, the first thing he said was, “I’m glad you didn’t get voted out because I would have taken your place.”
Holmes: This season is crazy town with these twists.
Cumbie: Honestly Gordon, what it comes down to is bank accounts. With the couples the money is all going to the same place, with the exception of Hayden and Kat. If they stay together, maybe it will, I don’t know. But all the married couples, the couples that have been together a long time, the money is going to the same place. We only need one person at the end. A mother and a daughter…an uncle and a niece…it’s not the same. And, the longer you’re a pair in the game, you become a target. So I think for Caleb being single at this point is going to benefit him.
Holmes: I wasn’t there. You have your story, Probst has his. A lot of people are going to read this and think you’re just saying all of this to cover the fact that you just wanted to quit.
Holmes: Either you didn’t like your tribe or it was too hot or whatever. Where’s your head as far as dealing with the inevitable fallout from all of this?
Cumbie: Honestly, I really don’t care. I’m really happy in my life. People say “quitters never win,” but have you met my fiancé? Clearly I’ve won.
Holmes: I have met you fiancé. You did win.
Cumbie: He’s awesome.
Holmes: We don’t have to debate that point.
Holmes: You are a “Survivor” mega fan. Covering “Survivor” is my job and I’m sure I don’t know the game as well as you do. I don’t have your recall of the facts. Have these experiences on the show made you hate “Survivor”?
Cumbie: A little bit. It’s the stuff we can’t talk about that makes me hate “Survivor.” The behind-the-scenes stuff that you don’t see. That’s what makes me hate it. It’s Jeff Probst standing in the arena before God and everybody saying, “I’m the main person who campaigned for you to come back and you’re just going to walk?” And then to turn around and say he never wanted me on the show.
Holmes: Being the ultimate fan, you know Probst doesn’t go easy on quitters. From Osten to NaOnka to Purple Kelly they all got some serious grief.
Cumbie: I don’t think he’s ever handled anyone like he handled me.
Holmes: As someone who knows the game extremely well, what do you think your place in “Survivor” history is?
Cumbie: I’m probably the most hated player ever, that’s a given. People despise me. And I think it’s for a number a reasons. It’s my fault. I did it. There was a fork in the road and I could have been the adorable little gay kid that everybody loves and I didn’t do it. And that’s on me.
Holmes: Did Galang just shut you down? They wouldn’t let you in?
Cumbie: Yeah, kind of. I did that to myself though. I was trying to get rid of Aras. Aras was in an alliance with everyone and it was so obvious to me. I didn’t understand why everyone was so bamboozled by him. I kept calling him Jim Jones. Everyone was drinking his Kool-Aid and following him blindly. I love Tina, I told her, “I’ve got Monica, I’ve got Tyson.” And what I should have done is kept my mouth shut. Let Kat be voted out first. Let Laura Morett be the second person. Then maybe get Monica and Tyson and Rupert’s wife and get out Aras.
Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word associatin’…we’ll start with Tyson.
Cumbie: Love him.
Holmes: Laura Boneham?
Holmes: Laura Morett?
Cumbie: Love her.
Cumbie: She writes love all over herself, but the only person Tina Wesson loves is herself.
Holmes: And we’ll finish with your buddy Monica.
Cumbie: Goddess. I love her.
Holmes: I have some positives for you.
Cumbie: I’m very anxious to hear this. (Laughs)
Holmes: Three positives; you didn’t say anything racist. You didn’t say anything elitist. And you brought Caleb into our lives.
Cumbie: I appreciate that. You’re the first person who’s pointed that out. People keep saying, “The old Colton is back.” And I’m like, “Did you watch ‘One World’?” The Colton from this season is nothing like before. That Colton made people cry, he didn’t cry all the time. I feel like I have grown as a person in that regard. I have a lot more respect for people’s feelings. You can argue I lost it with Kat in the boat, but that’s because I don’t respond well to being yelled at. Kat and I talked about it immediately after it happened and then it was non-issue. You want me to enjoy the zen and the kumbaya? Then I need a plan. I’m a planner. I have my whole life planned down to a tee. I’m not a roll-with-it kind of a guy.
Holmes: Well, I know you already have planned a future Miss Alabama.
Cumbie: Really. I’ve already planned my kids. From my egg donor’s day of ovulation.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes